Each year, I take yy 3rd grade students to attend a free jazz concert at The Jazz Standard, a renowned jazz club right here in NYC. To get the most out of this experience, we learn about the blues and jazz through playing singing games that have a blues/jazz flavor to them and also through playing our instruments (recorder in 3rd grade and clarinet in 5th grade). One of the first jazz songs we learn is a blues called “Bag’s Groove” by Milt Jackson. Here two great videos to check out. The first is of Milt Jackson himself playing the song (click here). The second is of trumpeter Nicholas Payton playing it (click here).
Here is a great website on PBS to get you started with learning more about jazz: PBS Jazz Kids.
The Jazz Greats:
We will learn about some of the great jazz musicians in music class. Two very important musicians from jazz history are Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Louis was a great jazz trumpeter and a very unique singer. Ella was a great singer who is known for something called “scat singing” (by the way, some people say that Louis created “scat singing” when he was in a recording session and the music fell off his stand. He is said to have just started making up melodies using sounds and this was supposed to be the beginning of “scat singing.”). Here’s an example of Ella scat singing (click here). And, here’s an example of Louis both singing and playing trumpet (click here).